HR & Management

Glassdoor’s Highest Rated CEOs survey contains only eight per cent women

3 min read

21 June 2017

Former editor

In the annual 50 Highest Rated CEOs in Britain survey, carried out by company review platform Glassdoor, only four women made the final list.

The survey, which produces results for the UK, US, Germany, France and Canada, uses anonymous gradings from the Glassdoor platform to determine who the highest rated CEOs are.

With an employee approval score of 98 per cent, Anglian Water’s Peter Simpson topped the list, followed by Marc Benioff from Salesforce (97 per cent) and HomeServe UK’s Martin Bennett (96 per cent).

However, it was the dearth of female CEOs that stood out from the list. Only Philippa Jones from Bromford (11th place), Carolyn McCall from easyJet (30th), Sacha Romanovitch from Grant Thornton (35th) and Pamela Nicholson (49th) made the cut.

Chris Roberts, practice director at Business Performance and Leadership Consultancy Accelerating Experience, said of the trend:  “The lack of female CEOs in the top ten rated CEOs is an indictment of UK companies’ culture, rather than any reflection on the ability of female leaders.

“There are simply not enough female CEOs, and their underrepresentation at the highest level highlights that gender discrimination within businesses is an underlying and fundamental issue – one that goes beyond government initiatives and ratios.”

Currently, there are only seven FTSE 100 companies led by women – at companies including easyJet, Royal Mail, Kingfisher and Whitbread. Outside of the CEO role, statistics from Egon Zhender in February showed women made up 29 per cent of hires to UK boards in 2016 – down from 32.1 per cent in 2014 and 31.6 per cent in 2012.

The government’s women on boards initiative was successful in ensuring a quarter of FTSE 100 board spots were filled by women in 2015, and has now set its sights on increasing that level to a third at the UK’s 350 largest public companies by 2020.

However, Roberts added: “We need to see companies support the diversification of their workforce – and importantly – establish more female role models within business. A diverse workforce and leadership team creates a high performing team, delivering value to an organisation, boosting productivity and the bottom line.

“Resolving UK plc’s issue with gender equality, and deepening the pool of female leaders, is not something that can be done quickly. But it cannot be neglected. It requires full-scale organisational change led from the top, and a people strategy embraced by the executive board.”

The US fared even worse in terms of diversity, with only two of its top 50 highest rated CEOs being women and seven in the top 100.

Top ten highest rated CEOs in the UK

  1. Peter Simpson: Anglian Water – 98 per cent
  2. Marc Benioff: Salesforce – 97 per cent
  3. Martin Bennett: HomeServe UK – 96 per cent
  4. Sundar Pichai: Google – 96 per cent
  5. Joe Garner: Nationwide Building Society – 96 per cent
  6. Warren East: Rolls-Royce – 95 per cent
  7. Steve Ingham: PageGroup – 95 per cent
  8. Satya Nadella: Microsoft – 95 per cent
  9. Dara Khosrowshahi: Expedia – 95 per cent
  10. Phil Loney: Royal London – 95 per cent